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Michael Hurst Talks about Lysistrata in an Interview
with Kim Hill on Radio New Zealand, May 2003


KH: In the past, you seem to have done several things at the same time. I mean, we spoke about your previous production of Hamlet, you know, and Hercules and that. Are you doing just Hamlet at the moment?

MH: Ah . . . (laughs)

KH: Apart from the fact that you're acting it and directing it.

MH: Acting and directing it, and producing. No, well, I'm preparing another production which I go into a week after we open Hamlet which I'm directing with the [???} drama at Auckland University. It's Lysistrata, Aristophanes' play . . .

KH: Blimey!

MH: . . . which I love.

KH: Not many laughs in that one.

MH: Oh, there are! It's the funniest play ever written!

KH: Really?

MH: Yeah, you know, oh, it's . . .

KH: Go on, tell me about it.

MH: Well, Lysistrata is this woman, and she gets all the other women in Athens together, and she's really upset because all the men, they're off fighting the Spartans. The women are sick of this, and she's sick of it, and she says, look, the only way we're gonna stop this, this ridiculous war, and she gets all the Spartan women over, and they decide they're not going to have sex until the war is, 'til the treaty is signed. And they barricade themselves into the Acropolis and . . .

KH: Did they still do the washing-up?

MH: No, no, that's the whole point. It's fantastic, because you get all these men, these wonderful--because the Greeks were earthy as anything, all these men walking around, you know, gigantic bulges under their togas--lot of jokes about that ("What's that under your toga?"), but the thing is . . .

KH: It's all very [???] then, isn't it?

MH: Well, except that the women are the same, the women are dying to get back to the men, and Lysistrata has this enormous job trying to keep them in the Acropolis, and basically, it's separating the sexes until they come to their senses. And at the end, when, finally, they do come to their senses, they're allowed to come together and there's this great sort of dance. It's actually really funny, and, again, it's, I suppose, it's sort of got modern sensibilities. The Greeks were amazing that they could treat women as not even citizens and yet write these amazing plays for them and about them.


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